9 October 2015 - NWAS ‘Shocked’ at ‘Shoctober’ Success!

Shoctober Selfies Collage

North West Ambulance Service’s social media sites have gone into meltdown since launching its ‘Shoctober’ campaign on 1 October.

The campaign’s hashtag #findthedefib has been ‘tweeted’ over 2,000 times and the Trust received details of more than 250 defibrillator locations which are being checked against its records, to ensure 999 callers can be directed to the nearest one in the event of a cardiac arrest.

MPs, schools, gyms, youth groups, fire services, police officers, sports teams, the AA, supermarkets and business owners have all risen to the challenge to find the defib and their efforts are showing no signs of slowing down as the campaign continues throughout October.

NWAS Community Engagement Manager, Andy Redgrave comments; “We thought we may get a few pictures of forgotten defibrillators but we never imagined the response from the public would be so great. In the first week alone we learnt of at least 88 defibrillator locations that we weren’t aware of previously, we’re currently checking the others we have been told about so as the month goes on, we hope to increase this further.

“The Trust is extremely grateful for the support shown by the public, we’ve even had pictures from Florida, Hong Kong, Spain and Amsterdam! It’s heartening to learn that all these people know the importance of having a defibrillator in public places. A cardiac arrest can happen to anyone – young or old, at any time and the use of a defibrillator within the first few minutes, while help is on the way, can improve the chances of survival by up to 70 per cent.

“Please keep those selfies coming. In some way, everyone who sends us a picture with location details is contributing to saving the life of someone in their community.”

It’s estimated that there are thousands of these life-saving portable machines in the North West which NWAS doesn’t know about so if someone calls 999 in the event of a cardiac arrest, the Trust can’t direct them to the nearest one.

AEDs are small machines which can ‘shock’ a person’s heart into restarting. They are easy to use, easy to carry and as they talks through the process, they won’t deliver a shock unless it is required. There is no clinical training required to be able to use the machine. Last year, the Trust attended 13,636 suspected cardiac arrest incidents in the region and this number increases year on year.

The Trust knows that many large business such as hotel chains, factories, shopping centres and smaller organisations such as social and sports clubs raise funds and install AEDs and is asking the public to ‘find the defib’ and let NWAS know.

The location of AEDs can sometimes be marked with a sign showing a white heart on a green background, or they could just be mounted on a wall behind bars, in corridors, gyms, leisure centres, offices, tourist attractions, schools, colleges, restaurants, coffee shops – anywhere at all!

If you see one, take a selfie with it and you can either tweet the photo via @NWambulance using the hashtag #findthedefib, giving as much information as possible regarding its location. Or, send the photo via North West Ambulance Service’s Facebook page or email nwasenquiries@nwas.nhs.uk if you don’t want to send a photo, just mail the location details and NWAS will make sure the device is logged on the system and ready to use in the event of an emergency.